Germany shooting: Gunman kills two after attacking synagogue
- 39 minutes ago
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionWitnesses say the gunman tried to target Yom Kippur observers using explosives and guns
A gunman has killed two people in eastern Germany after attempting to enter a synagogue where dozens were observing a Jewish holiday.
The suspect live-streamed the attack on an online video-game platform before being arrested.
The video, which has now been removed, showed him making anti-Semitic comments to camera before driving to a synagogue in Halle and shooting into its door.
After failing to get in, the gunman shot dead two people nearby.
The suspect is a 27-year-old German who acted alone, according to local media.
“According to the federal prosecutor there are sufficient indications for a possible right-wing extremist motive,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said.
Videos from the scene appear to show the suspect wearing military-type clothing and using several weapons in the attack.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended a memorial vigil for the victims at Berlin’s main synagogue.
How did the attack unfold?
The attack happened in the city of Halle at about 12:00 local time (10:00 GMT) on Wednesday.
Max Privorotzki, leader of the local Jewish community, said the attempted attack on the synagogue was captured on a surveillance camera.
Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionThe suspect was filmed wearing a helmet shooting into a local street
“We saw via the camera system at our synagogue that a heavily armed perpetrator with a steel helmet and a gun tried to shoot open our doors,” he told the Stuttgarter Zeitung newspaper.
“The man looked as though he was from the special forces… But our doors held.”
Mr Privorotzki said about 70 or 80 people were inside at the time.
After apparently becoming frustrated at failing to get in, the suspect then allegedly shot into the street and killed a woman close to the synagogue, before killing a man in a local kebab shop.
A witness at the shop told German N-tv news that the gunman was wearing camouflage when he opened fire on the venue.
“The man came up to the doner shop, he threw something like a grenade, it didn’t explode, and he opened fire with an assault rifle. I hid in the toilet,” the witness said.
Two people with gun wounds have had surgery at the city’s university hospital, a spokesman told AFP news agency.
Image copyrightEPAImage captionThe dozens who were trapped in the synagogue were later evacuated on buses
What is known about the suspect?
Police say the man was arrested after fleeing the scene. He has not been officially named but local media suggest he is a 27-year-old German.
Initial reports suggested other people may have been involved, but a local police lockdown has now been lifted.
Video-game platform Twitch has confirmed the suspect broadcast the attack on their online streaming website.
“We worked with urgency to remove this content and will permanently suspend any accounts found to be posting or reposting content of this abhorrent act,” a spokeswoman told Reuters.
The video the suspect posted showed him making misogynistic and anti-Semitic statements to the camera – including denying the Holocaust.
The attack came as Jews observed Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day.
Image copyrightAFPImage captionMrs Merkel joined the Jewish community for a vigil in solidarity in Berlin
“That on the Day of Atonement a synagogue was shot at hits us in the heart,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas posted on Twitter. “We must all act against anti-Semitism in our country.”
Security was boosted at other German synagogues following news of the attack and vigils were held on Wednesday evening.
A spokesman said Angela Merkel condemned the shooting and offered her solidarity “for all Jews on the holy day of Yom Kippur”.
A minute’s silence was earlier held for the victims in the European Parliament in Brussels.
The EU’s President, Jean Claude Juncker, has also condemned the attack.
“I am shocked by the brutal attacks in Halle – on this day, Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism,” he posted on Twitter. “My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the shooting as a “terror attack” and warned anti-Semitism was on the rise in Europe.
“I urge German authorities to continue to act resolutely against the phenomenon of anti-Semitism,” Mr Netanyahu tweeted